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(mŏn'trēôl`), Fr. Montréal (môNrāäl`), city (1991 pop. 1,017,666), S Que., Canada, on Montreal island, surrounded by St. Lawrence River and Rivière des Prairies. Montreal is the second largest metropolitan area in Canada, after Toronto, and is a cultural, commercial, financial, and industrial center. It is one of the largest French-speaking cities in the world, though most of its inhabitants also speak English.


Montreal has an excellent harbor on the St. Lawrence Seaway, which connects the city to the great industrial centers of the Great Lakes. As Canada's most important port, it is a transshipment point for oil, grain, sugar, machinery, and manufactured goods. It is also an important railway hub, and has two international airports, Dorval and Mirabel. Its underground rail system, the Métro, was inaugurated in 1966. The city's industries include pharmaceuticals, high-technology, steel, electronic equipment, refined petroleum, transportation equipment, textiles, clothing, food and beverages, printed materials, and tobacco. It is also a financial service center, which greatly expanded in the 1980s.

Once Canada's preeminent city, Montreal has been eclipsed by Toronto as the country's economic center. Tensions over Quebec's insistence on enforcing its francophone culture have caused an outmigration of English-speaking people to Ontario and to the growing western provinces. Despite these changes, Montreal remains one of North America's great cosmopolitan cities.

Landmarks and Institutions

The city lies at the foot of Mt. Royal, which is the source of its name and around which extends a large wooded park in the center of the city. To the south fronting the river is the area of Old Montreal, which draws visitors to the boardwalk on the site of the Old Port and to Place Jacques-Cartier, St. Sulpice Seminary (1685), the Château de Ramezay (1705), and the Gothic Church of Notre Dame (c.1820). Beginning in the 1960s, following a period of neglect, Old Montreal underwent extensive renovation and gained commercial, government, and private tenants. Located in the downtown area is the Place Ville Marie, an innovative commercial complex built in 1962; around it stretches the Underground City, which provides protected access, both above and below street level, to shopping, restaurants, offices, and other commercial enterprises and to transportation links. Montreal has a museum of fine arts, a museum of contemporary arts, an environmental museum and insectarium, and large botanical gardens. An amusement center and casino occupy the site of Expo '67. The city is the seat of McGill Univ., the Univ. of Montreal, the Univ. of Quebec at Montreal, and Concordia Univ. The National Hockey League's hallowed Canadiens and the Canadian Football League's Alouettes play in the city.


A stockaded Native American village, Hochelaga, was found on the site (1535) by CartierCartier, Jacques
, 1491–1557, French navigator, first explorer of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and discoverer of the St. Lawrence River. He made three voyages to the region, the first two (1534, 1535–36) directly at the command of King Francis I and the third
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, and the island was visited in 1603 by ChamplainChamplain, Samuel de
, 1567–1635, French explorer, the chief founder of New France.

After serving in France under Henry of Navarre (King Henry IV) in the religious wars, Champlain was given command of a Spanish fleet sailing to the West Indies, Mexico, and the
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, but it was not settled by the French until 1642, when a band of priests, nuns, and settlers under Paul de Chomedey, sieur de MaisonneuveMaisonneuve, Paul de Chomedey, sieur de
, 1612–76, founder and first governor of Montreal, b. France. A soldier, he fought in European wars before being sent by the Société de Notre Dame de Montréal to take possession of their grant in the new world.
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, founded the Ville Marie de Montréal. The settlement grew to become an important center of the fur trade and the starting point for the western expeditions of Jolliet, Marquette, La Salle, Vérendrye, and Duluth. It was fortified in 1725 and remained in French possession until 1760, when Vaudreuil de Cavagnal surrendered it to British forces under Amherst. Americans under Richard Montgomery occupied it briefly (1775–76) during the American Revolution.

The city's growth was aided by the opening in 1825 of the Lachine Canal, making possible water communications with the Great Lakes. From 1844 to 1849, Montreal was the capital of United Canada. The Canadian Pacific Railway established its headquarters here in the 1880s. Montreal held the much-praised international exposition of 1967, known as Expo '67, and further increased its international stature by hosting the 1976 Summer Olympics, although the provincial debt incurred in undertaking the latter was not retired until 2006.


See E. A. Collard, Montreal Yesterdays (1962); J. I. Cooper, Montreal, A Brief History (1969); L. Roberts, Montreal: From Mission Colony to World City (1969); J.-C. Marsan, Montreal in Evolution (1981); P.-A. Linteau, Montreal (1992).



(Montréal), a city in eastern Canada, in Quebec Province. It is located on the St. Lawrence River’s confluence with the Ottawa River, 1,600 km from the Atlantic Ocean. Montreal is Canada’s most populous city; the population in 1971 was 2.7 million (including suburbs). Approximately two thirds of the population is French Canadian.

The city government is administered by the mayor, who heads a 99-member council. Montreal is divided into 11 wards, each of which is represented in the council by six members: three members of Category A are elected only by persons who own property of certain size, and three members of Category B are elected by all the voters of the ward. Thirty-three councilors (Category C) are elected by such institutions as the Montreal Council of Trade, the Chamber of Commerce, McGill University, the University of Montreal, and the Central Council of Catholic Trade Unions. The council appoints an executive committee, consisting of two members from each category. The councilors serve two-year terms. The council is controlled by the legislative assembly of Quebec Province, and its authority is limited to questions concerning the municipal economy, the local budget, and similar matters.

Montreal was founded in 1642 as Ville-Marie de Montreal by French settlers. In the first half of the 18th century the city became an important trading center. In 1760, Montreal fell to the British, and from 1844 to 1849 it was the capital of the British colony (or province) of Canada. Montreal is one of the centers of the workers’ movement in Canada.

Montreal owes much of its growth and the growth of its population (1800, about 10,000; 1901, 328,000) to its position on the St. Lawrence River, which is accessible to ocean-going vessels. It is also located in the center of a fertile valley and in a region with a wealth of mineral and hydroelectric resources. In addition, it is near major United States industrial centers. The largest port in Canada, Montreal had a freight turnover of more than 20 million tons in 1971 (the principal export being grain). The city is also a major railroad junction and Canada’s most important commercial, financial, and industrial center.

Greater Montreal is responsible, by value, for about one-fifth of the production of Canada’s processing industry, including approximately one-half of the light industry production (leather footwear, textiles, and garments). Other industries that have been developed in Montreal include general machine-building (one-third of Canada’s productive capacity), oil refining, metal-working, diesel and railroad car building (one-half of Canada’s productive capacity), aircraft construction, shipbuilding, and nonferrous metallurgy. The city also has chemical, furniture, and food industries. The important Dorval airport is located 12 km south of Montreal.

Montreal’s educational institutions include McGill University, the University of Montreal, and Sir George Williams University. The city is the site of the Library of the City of Montreal and the Museum of Fine Arts.

The city of Montreal is based on a rectangular plan, which was drawn up in 1672. Among the city’s noteworthy architectural monuments are the Church of Montreal de Bonsecours (1657; rebuilt in 1771), St. Sulpice Seminary (1680), the Chateau de Ramezay (1705–24), eclectic 19th-century structures, the University of Montreal (1925–42, architect E. Cormier), the trade center (1960, architect B. Fuller), and the cultural center (Place des Arts; 1960’s, architects F. Lebensold and others). The satellite city of Granby was built in the 1960’s. Montreal underwent extensive urban improvement in preparation for its international exhibition in 1967 (Expo 67); for example, underground passage-ways were built and auto-free zones were created.


King, M. J. Montreal and Quebec. Toronto, 1955.


a city and major port in central Canada, in S Quebec on Montreal Island at the junction of the Ottawa and St Lawrence Rivers. Pop.: 1 039 534 (2001)
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